Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group

Press Release
May 05, 2005

Contact Pamela Finch
(315) 363-9657

Push for Mental Health Mandate Overlooks Business Need for Parity

A statement by Jeff Leland, chair Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care

How incongruous that during National Cover the Uninsured Week, a time set aside to focus on affordable health insurance as a top legislative priority, Senator Jeff Klein, Full Circle Health, and the Bronx-Westchester Coalition would push for legislation that will increase everyone’s costs while helping only a select few. Here is why:



  • Health insurance mandates, like the mental health mandate, broaden the scope of New York’s basic health insurance policy by requiring coverage for specific treatments and services. Lawmakers are not required to study the ramifications of cost or efficacy of this legislation before passage.
  • New York is the third most heavily mandated state in the nation with 34 laws on record that increase premiums by 12.2% percent per policyholder annually.
Proponents say mental health legislation would “level the playing field” with only a “minor” increase in premiums. However, a 1999 Barents Group study found that for every 1% premium increase, 30,000 will lose their health insurance coverage.

It is time for Senator Klein and others to recognize the hardship of New York’s three million uninsured and oppose all health insurance mandates, including Timothy’s Law. The bottom line is not about money, it’s about giving everyone access to basic, affordable health care.

Editor’s Note: The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is the largest, single-issue grassroots coalition in New York State. The 2,300 (small business owners, sole proprietors and business associations) represent more than 150,000 working New Yorkers. The group opposes legislative mandates that lead to rising health insurance premiums.